tv U.S. Senate CSPAN November 10, 2011 12:00pm-5:00pm EST
carolina opinion that says that the regulations were not overturned. we're arguing for keeping in place the current regulations. we're just arguing that we not be overzealous and that we not add $2 billion in new regulations on top of the current regulations. we have $2 trillion worth of regulations heaped on our economy, 14 million people out of work, two million new people out of work since this president came into power. we cannot allow this administration to continue with their job-killing regulations. we can have a clean environment and we can have jobs. we are arguing for the existing regulations. we are arguing against placing additional burdens. we are arguing for the existing regulations. they don't seem to get it, so they make up all these numbers. all of their numbers are
completely fictitious because they don't account for the current regulations that would still be in place if we don't increase these regulations. this is about whether or not we can have a balanced approach in our society, whether or not we can have a clean environment and have jobs. what i'm arguing for here is some reasonableness. the presiding officer: the senator's time is expired. under the previous order the senate will resume consideration of the motion to proceed to senate joint resolution 6 which the clerk will report. the clerk: motion to proceed to the consideration of senate joint resolution 6, disapproving the rule submitted by the federal communications commission with respect to regulating the internet and broadband industry practices. the presiding officer: under the previous order there will be five minutes of debate equally divided the two leaders or their designees. who yields time?
if no one yields time, time will be charged equally to both sides. a senator: madam president. the presiding officer: the senator from texas. mrs. hutchison: madam president,, over the past 20 years the internet has are grown and flourished without burdensome regulations from washington. with the strength of free market forces behind it, the internet has been an open platform for
innovation. it has spurred business development, much-needed job creation, in fact, millions, hundreds of millions of jobs. if we're going to keep an open and free internet and keep the jobs it spawns, we should reject the f.c.c. regulation on net neutrality. the f.c.c. reversed its successful hands-off approach last december by passing net neutrality rules where the f.c.c. has essentially granted itself power over all forms of communication, including the internet. congress did not explicitly delegate this authority to the f.c.c., and it is our responsibility to hold on to the power and the responsibility that we have to only authorize
regulations where they are needed and not where unelected agencies decide on their own that something needs to be done that congress has not in its congressional and constitutional responsibility decided are necessary. these regulations on broadband providers established the f.c.c. as the internet's gatekeeper, a role for which government is not really suited when innovation could be stifled. instead of spending their resources on new job creating investments, on new products, on new services, internet providers are going to have to spend money on lawyers and lobbyists to comply with and go through the processes that the f.c.c. will require. congress has never given the f.c.c. this authority. regulators and bureaucrats all
across the government are overstepping their bounds in many areas, the n.m.b., the nlrb, the e.p.a., and it's time for congress to push back and we can do it today. regulators should not regulate without congress' explicit authority. the courts said so in the comcast case. the presiding officer: the senator's time has expired. mrs. hutchison: madam president, the success of the internet should not be tampered with. we need to pass resolution 6 that is before us today. thank you and i yield the floor.
mrs. hutchison: madam president. the presiding officer: the senator from texas. mrs. hutchison: i ask for the yeas and nays. the presiding officer: is there sufficient second? there appears to be. the yeas and nays are ordered. mrs. hutchison: madam president, what about our second vote on the other
congressional review act? the presiding officer: that will take consent. that will take consent to order the yeas and nays. mrs. hutchison: i ask for the yeas and nays on that one as well. the presiding officer: is there objection to ordering the yeas and nays? without objection -- is there a sufficient second? there appears to be. the yeas and nays are ordered.
the motion to proceed to s.j. res. 27. and there will be two minutes of debate equally divided in the usual form. may we have order in the senate. who yields time? the senator from kentucky. senators. mr. paul: i rise in support of clean air, clean water, electricity and jobs. we need to, if we're going to maintain our economy, discontinue and not overreach with job-killing regulations. we are asking for the continuation of the existing regulations. the presiding officer: senators, please take your conversations out of the well of the senate. mr. paul: this amendment would allow for the continuation of the existing regulations. if you rook -- look at e.p.a.
vs. north carolina, it says remand without vacating the order. the other side claims that we're for no regulations. we are asking for the continuation of the existing regulations on pollution. the rules are working, but if we keep increasing the burden, we are going to cause increased joblessness. i reserve the remainder of my time. the presiding officer: the senator from california. mrs. boxer: madam president, could we have order. the presiding officer: the senator from california. mrs. boxer: madam president, we still don't have order. the presiding officer: the senate will stand in order. mrs. boxer: madam president, i hope colleagues will take a moment to look at this picture because this is what we're talking about, exhaling toxic
air and little kids and members of our families who have to use this kind of inhaler. exhale, inhale. this is a poster done by the american lung association. every public health group respected opposes the paul resolution. if your neighbor dumped toxic garbage on your front lawn that would harm your families, you would do two things. one, you would say clean it up. two, you would say never do it again. that's all the rule does that senator paul is trying to eviscerate here. vote no for jobs for clean air for our families and 67% of the american people including 68% of independents who oppose the paul resolution. the presiding officer: the senator's time has expired. mrs. boxer: please vote no. mr. paul: madam president. the presiding officer: the senator from kentucky.
mr. paul: there are emotions and there are facts. the facts are that emissions have been declining for six decades. the current rules are working. if you vote for increased regulations, you're voting to kill jobs. the presiding officer: the senator's time has expired. the yeas and nays are ordered. on the motion to proceed to s.j. res. 27. the clerk will call the roll. vote:
without objection. the senator from california. mrs. boxer: first of all i want to say a big thank you to colleagues to voting to defeat the paul resolution which was a real attack on the health of our families. i ask unanimous consent that from thursday, november 10, through monday, november 14, the majority leader be authorized to sign duly enrolled bills or joint resolutions. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection, so ordered. mrs. boxer: i ask unanimous consent the senate proceed to a period of morning business until 1:30 with the time equally divided the two leaders or their designees and with senators permitted to speak up to ten minutes each. the presiding officer: without objection. the senator from south carolina. mr. demint: thank you, madam president. i want to speak for a few minutes about the proposed veterans' tax credit. i know what i'm about to discuss
won't be very popular, i'll probably be accused of not supporting veterans by the politicians pandering for their votes but i'm not going to be intimidated to vote for something that may make sense politically but is inherently unfair and it isn't going to work. the measure the senate is now considering at president obama's urging is to offer tax credits to employers who hire unemployed veterans. it might sound like good politics, but it's not good policy. we've learned over the past few years since president obama took office that employers hire based on their long-term plans, not short-term stimulus. it costs an employer about $63,000 a year to create an average private sector job. a new tax credit for a couple of thousand dollars is simply not enough to increase employment. we have to recognize the fact
that businesses are not going to hire until the government gets out of their way and creates a stable environment where businesses can thrive. let's be clear, i want veterans to have work opportunities. once a man or woman has completed his or her service to our country i hope they're welcomed into the job market. but veterans aren't hired simply because they're veterans. by and large, they demonstrate admirable qualities that are invaluable in the work force, like selflessness, hard work, and dedication to improving oneself. and many other americans who are suffering in this same bad economy, like simm moms, young graduates and minorities, also demonstrate these same commendable character traits. the best way to get our veterans back to work is by doing the things that will help the economy and get all americans back to work.
sadly, this tax credit doesn't do that. the government has tried offering credits to hire particular categories of people many times before. the government accounting office report studied targeted jobs tax credit passed back in 1978. the credit was intended to encourage companies to favor the disadvantaged in hiring, but a followup study found that it was not effective or economical in helping the targeted group. the program was eventually allowed to expire. but, unfortunately, that tax credit was quickly replaced with the welfare to work and work opportunity tax credits in 1996. the urban institute, brookings tax policy center, studied these credits which was intended to help the needy, low-income, veterans, inner-city youth and
ex-felons. but it found that the credits had not had a meaningful effect on employment rates among the disadvantaged. president obama signed another law, the hiring incentives to restore employment act, in march of 2010, to give companies a tax credit to hire unemployed workers. there is no evidence that this encouraged employers to hire as unemployment has remained stubbornly high since president obama came into office, especially over the last year while this credit was available. despite the overwhelming evidence that these tax credits do not stimulate hiring for targeted groups, the obama administration continues to push congress to pass another tax credit, this time exclusively for veterans. by using a politically sensitive group the day before veterans day, the democrats are hoping they can trick republicans into further complicating the tax
code when we should be doing everything possible to simplify it. if we really want to help veterans and all americans, we need to get serious about fixing our economy. there are almost 14 million unemployed americans, and another 10 million underemployed and discouraged workers who need work. we need a simpler tax code that businesses can navigate, an more complicated one riddled with incentives for employers to hire one particular group over another. the endless morass of tax credits and loopholes is exactly what is wrong with our tax code. we should also repeal obamacare and dodd-frank which are proven job killers. we'll have a chance to vote on that later today. we need to open more domestic energy resources. the answers are right in front of our face, but instead, we're pandering to different
political groups with programs that have proven to be ineffective. we're giving more false promises to americans in order to benefit political ends. all americans deserve the same opportunity to get hired. i cannot support this tax credit because i do not believe the government should privilege one american over another when it comes to work. i'm deeply thankful for the craimgous and selfless service of our veterans. they have performed for our country a service that we will always be in their debt for. or we are indebted to them, let me just put it that way. and above all, i am thankful for their sacrifices to protect freedom and equal opportunity in america. but we don't pay them back for their service and sacrifice with false promises of government programs that have proven not to work. let's be honest with our veterans and with all americans, and do what we need
mr. coons: i ask that proceedings under the quorum call be vitiated. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. coons: madam president, i rise today, on the eve of veterans day, to speak on behalf of those who have fought for our country only to return home to find that their fight must continue. this time their fight for a job, for employment. i rise today to offer my support on the floor for the vow to hire heroes act, which i believe is now before this body. i am a cosponsor of this bill, madam president, because, as a nation, we must do more to appreciate, to support the service of our returning heroes and to help them to fully recover from their service abroad by returning to meaningful employment in the civilian sector. we haven't had as many service members coming home from military service abroad in a long time, and unfortunately so many of them come home to a bitterly slow recovery from the great recession. the unemployment rate among all veterans from service in iraq or afghanistan is now 30% higher than the national unemployment rate. it's at roughly 12.1%.
and that means nearly a quarter million veterans unemployed. this bill is about equipping them, equipping them effectively to return home to full employment. we have a tremendous asset, mr. president, and the highly trained, highly skilled, highly motivated veterans that we have deployed overseas in the service of freedom and who are now returning home seeking service in employment with america's businesses. we're talking about men and women who are real leaders, tested leaders who've learned something useful about managing people through some of the most difficult situations imaginable. folks in whom we invest hundreds of millions of dollars every year, year in and year out, in training them and in equipping them, billions of dollars in equipping them, to the highest service levels when we send them overseas. we should invest comparably in making sure that that training, that equipment is relevant as they return home. this summer, mr. president, i hosted a round-table in delaware on veterans jobs.
19 participants came from a wide range of sectors, from the military, from labor, from businesses, from all sorts of different civilian support organizations who work with our return veterans. and as we had a long and productive conversation, the message was loud and clear -- we can and should incentivize private businesses to hire veterans. we can help connect the private sector, these businesses, across america with veterans whom they want to hire. and we can and should do a better job of helping returning veterans transition to civilian services. in delaware and across the country, we've had some great programs in the past, helmets to hardhats, for example, one with which i became familiar in my previous service in county government, that connected folks in the building trades who wanted to welcome into their ranks veterans returning from recent service with those who have served our country honorably overseas and are now home fighting for jobs. there's also the employer support of the guard and reserve or esgr, with which i regular communicated as county executive and continue to offer my support
as senator, that helps make sure that those who serve overseas in the guard and reserve know that their employers understand and respect their legal obligations and their moral obligations to provide employment opportunities comparable to those they had before they deployed. we also had participating in this important conversation this summer delaware companies that have made a public pledge to hiring veterans, some at aviation in middletown, j.p. morgan chase with a very large presence in delaware that's made a very real and sustaining commitment to hiring returning veterans. we have a jobs crisis in america, mr. president, and today delaware's veterans' unemployment rate is 8%. and while that's good compared to the national average, 8% shouldn't be a good number. and in my view, this congress could have no higher priority than helping americans get back to work and in that priority helping america's veterans get back to work. the bill we are on today is the fourth major jobs bill full of ideas, many of which originally came from the other side of the aisle, for job creation that
we've introduced and considered. the american jobs act, a bill that would public safety workers and teachers back to work and sustain their public service role. a bill that would invest in the infrastructure bank and public dollars for infrastructure all over this country. and all of these bills, mr. president, have been blocked. not defeated but blocked, prevented through filibuster from even coming to the floor. if ever there was a jobs bill that has earned bipartisan support, it's the one this body will vote on later today. today we have an opportunity to make it easier for our veterans to find jobs, and i am encouraged by very real signs that this bill may pass so that all of us can go home tomorrow to our states, participate in veterans day ceremonies, having voted for a bill designed to help so many of america's servicemen and women ease their path back to full employment in the civilian economy. i believe we owe them nothing less. this bill, mr. president, offers tax credits to businesses in the private sector who would hire veterans. it guarantees service members
access to training designed to facilitate their transition to civilian use -- life, excuse me, their transition to civilian life and allow them full use of the skills they've gained in service to our nation. and it cuts through some of the bureaucratic red tape that's made it difficult for veterans to get access to federal resources. i am proud, mr. president, to be a cosponsor of this bill, just as i was proud to cosponsor with senator murray of washington the hiring heroes act this spring. we owe it to america to work more aggressively together, across the aisle in confronting this ongoing jobs crisis, and i urge my colleagues to vote in favor of the vow to hire heroes act today. if i can, mr. president, i'd also like to take just another few minutes to discuss a bill that i hope will pass the senate later today on a similar topic. it is a small bill addressing a complicated issue but it will make a big difference in the lives of many of our service members. when an american marries a foreign national, an immigrant, and that immigrant decides that he or she wants to become an
american citizen, they begin a process of obtaining permanent residency, of applying for and seeking a green card. just before the two-year mark in that process, the couple must fill out a form together and appear for an in-person interview. you have a 90-day window to nile paperwork and another 90 days to appear for this in-person interview together. here's the problem, mr. president. what if you're in the military and deployed abroad? what if the american in this couple is in a war zone and cannot make it back to the united states in that limited, tightly defined 90-day window for an in-person interview? you might miss your opportunity for you and your spouse to have the interview and secure his or her green card in this united states. our soldiers, in my view, have enough to worry about without adding this to the list. the bill we will offer later today is a simple fix, mr. president. my colleague, senator graham of south carolina, and i have introduced a bill that
congresswoman zoe loft congressmen introduced in the house earlier this year, that would give service members the flexibility to wait until after their deployments have concluded in order to conduct these in-person interviews. which measure, mr. president, passed the house of representatives 426-0. it is my hope it will also pass this senate unanimously tonight. mr. president, we are blessed in this nation to be served by volunteers, by men and women who stand up and go to the other side of the world to serve us in the interest of freedom. the two bills i've spoken of here on the floor today are things that we can and should do together across the aisle to advance their interests in having the enjoyment of liberty for which they've sacrificed so much. thank you. and with that, i yield the floor. mr. inhofe: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from oklahoma. mr. inhofe: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that at the conclusion of the remarks of the senator from west virginia, senator manchin, and the senator from indiana, senator coats, that i be recognized as if in morning business.
the presiding officer: without objection. mr. manchin: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from west virginia. mr. manchin: mr. president, i rise today to speak about a very real problem, making sure that we do everything that we can to protect jobs, safeguard our environment and make sure utility companies can provide reliable and affordable electricity from our domestic resources. there are two e.p.a. rules that are at the heart of this issue. one is the utility mac rule,
which would require a decrease in mercury emissions at power plants, and the cross-state air pollution rule, which would require power plants to lower emissions of pollutants that may reduce air quality in neighboring states. some utilities have already complied with these rules but many haven't. you can put the blame for the past soins anybody -- past sins on anybody and everybody and we seem to do it well here from time to time. this is not why we're here today. my colleague and good friend from indiana will be speaking after me and this is truly a bipartisan effort trying to bring reasonablableity and common sense to this subject. but we've proven near this body time and again that you truly can't fix it if you blame people for it. what we intend to do with our legislation is truly fix the problem. and let me be clear, i believe that both of these rules aim to accomplish important objectives. but as they're written, they're nearly impossible to realize. if we don't extend the deadline for utilities to responsibly comply, we're going to lose the
jobs and the reliability of th the -- of the electricity that we depend upon. and that hike of rates to consumers will be unimaginable. so, mr. president, we need to find a balance with our economy and the environment. that's why i'm proud to stand up today with my friend, senator coats, a republican from indiana, to offer a commonsense solution to this problem. and to move forward with responsible, reasonable legislation that would get plants in compliance. we are offering a bill today which is called "the fair compliance act of 2011." that has broad support from labor and industry and across the aisle. it's rare for so many groups with different points of view to come together behind a bill but let me give you a list of some of our supporters. the building and construction trades, international brotherhood of boilermakers, the international brotherhood of electrical workers, united mine workers of america, a.e.s., american electric power, interfab, the electric
reliability coordinating council, just to name a few. i believe that this bill provides a reasonable, responsible extension of the deadlines while also protecting our most important priorities -- our environment and our responsibility to the environment, the reliability of our electric grid, the consumers who have to wi buy energy and cn only afford to pay a reasonable price, using our own domestic resources so that we depend less on foreign energy, and, most importantly, the thousands of jobs that are on the line. with that, mr. president, i yield the floor to my friend from indiana. the presiding officer: the senator from indiana. mr. coats: mr. president, i thank my colleague, senator manchin, from west virginia for joining together to produce a bipartisan supported by both industry and labor piece of legislation that will ensure that the provisions established through the clean air act
relative to the emissions of sulfur dioxide, my trust oxide, mercury and other emissions will be reduced and eliminated. we do nothing to stop the progress that has been made over many, many years in regards to cleaning up our air. we should be proud as americans that we have taken the steps necessary to produce cleaner environments, to eliminate toxic pollutants in the air. over $100 billion has been spent by industry to retrofit their energy-producing plants with equipment which reduces and eliminates these pollutants. so we are not here today to advocate in favor of pumping more toxins into the air. we're here today to say we need a reasonable provision in place that would allow these industries to continue to pend
the billions of dollars which they are spending and do it in a timely manner so we can reach the goal established through the clean air act and other regulations. but this current regulations which we had a vote on on the paul amendment just less than an hour ago which came close to passing but failed i think by five votes now sets the stage for this particular provision which the senator from west virginia, joe manchin and i have cosponsored. the fair compliance act simply says that we want to continue to meet those standards but we need to do it in a time-sensitive way so that industry can comply with the necessary procedures to arrange the plafns, to hire the contractors, to install the
equipment. the time line proposed by the e.p.a. is simply unattainable. it's unreasonable. it's punitive. it costs jobs, it costs money, and furthermore, it prevents these necessary energy-producing facilities in the united states which is critical to our manufacturing base and critical to our economy and to employment to allow this to play out over an extended period of time. now, i say extended period of time. we're talking about an extension of two years on one of the provisions and three years on the other so they can do these together. so for those who have advocated and indicated on this floor in previous debate that we are undermining and undercutting and stopping regulations from going forward and reduction of contaminants in the air, that is absolutely incorrect. what we're doing is ensuring
that these will take place in a reasonable way which won't cost us jobs and won't further harm our economy. so just to repeat something and to ask my colleague from west virginia, my understanding is that there -- this has significant labor and industry support, and my colleague has outlined a number of industries and a number of labor unions that have supported this. i know there is some concern that the utilities have avoided these rules in the past. that has been alleged, although they have spent over $100 billion in compliance. and some say this is another delay tactic. i ask my colleague, what would you say to people who object to this legislation on those grounds?
mr. manchin: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from west virginia. mr. manchin: let me say the nay sayers say we shouldn't delay it any longer or shouldn't extend it any longer. it had been repealed by a previous administration. it had gone through a court system that overturned and we're back where we are. they are going to say well, some of them complied, some haven't, and there is enough ample time. we can set here, you and i have talked, and we have watched for the last year the blame game. it doesn't work. we haven't fixed a thing in this body this year by blaming the other side or blaming a previous administration or any partisan group. we have a chance with what you and i have teamed up with to fix this. the only thing i would say, you so eloquently laid out is two years extension on one to comply, not just to extend and
forgive. we're not asking to reduce any way possible or amend the clean air act. we want the clean air act enforced, and we want to be able to do it with the energy that we have, that we have used for the last century. it's domestic, it's a fossil fuel. we have cleaned up the air in west virginia by putting scrubbers and s.c.r.'s on boilers to the tune of 89% within the last two decades, and we can do a lot more. what we're allowing right now is to bring plants into compliance without giving a shock to the system. and the shock is this, sir. the cost, if i may quote you, even by e.p.a.'s own estimate, they pegged the cost that if this rule is not extended so that we can comply, it will cost $2.4 billion. $2.4 billion. who do you think's going to pay
that? it will be your consumers, your constituents, and most importantly the people who probably can't afford it. it's putting a burden on. it's challenging every job. it's depending on having reliable, affordable and dependable energy that they can compete globally. it's knocking us out of the market to compete. and why would we shoot ourselves in the foot economically? we can fix it, we can work within the clean air act and comply with it, and it doesn't make any of these rules less stringent. we're not saying relax it. we're just saying let us comply. don't blame what happened in the past. let's fix what's before us right now. so that's what i would say to my dear friend. if i may ask my dear friend, what have you heard from the utilities in indiana about the e.p.a.'s current time line? what have they told you? and if you could share that with us, i would appreciate it. the presiding officer: the senator from indiana.
mr. coats: i thank my friend for asking that question, and i thank him so much for his answer to the previous question. i have visited those utilities. let me just state one, tanner's creek down along the ohio river is a facility that will have to immediately close under this proposal at the cost of 60 jobs. there will have to be a movement toward constructing new facilities which will be very costly and not done on a timely basis to make up for the loss of electricity that's being -- that will flow into the grid, potentially causing blackouts or interruptions in electric supply. they are good citizens. they have plans to deal with their plants to comply with these regulations, but they need more time to do it. they have also said there is a
shortage of -- if we have to do this immediately, with all the plants all across the country, there is a shortage of equipment and contractors that are able to manufacture this type of equipment necessary and install that kind of equipment, and that will drive up costs. as the senator from west virginia has said, all of this is borne on the backs of the taxpayer. those who receive utility bills, whether it's for their residences or those companies that receive utility bills that are producing, as i said earlier, in the midwest, and in the senator's state and my state, we make big stuff. we make cars, we make locomotives and we make major airplane parts and we make big machines. this is the industrial heart of america. and so it takes a lot of energy to produce the kind of product that is made in our states, and
to have a sudden spike in utilities costs at a time when our economy is struggling is the worst thing that we could do in this economy. and so while we're -- this amendment is not designed to specifically address that issue, it certainly helps us as we work our way through a downturn in the economy that has kept a lot of people out of work and kept our economy from growing as it should, and this is just another blow to the manufacturing industry in the midwest, particularly in terms of hiring but also in terms of being competitive and making product. so the industries have come forward and said we will comply, we have come plied $100 billion-plus compliance record to date will be continued as we go forward. we're simply asking for a sensible time frame with which to do this. so just in conclusion, and i will turn it back to my friend for his conclusion, to my
colleagues, i simply say the allegations that this undermines what we're trying to do relative to providing clean air for american citizens to breathe is just totally exaggerated and not true. our bill requires compliance with the clean air act, and it does not take away any regulation relative to these emissions that are poured into the air out of our utilities. it's a bipartisan bill. this is not something that is on a partisan basis. it is a bipartisan pill. it has industry support and labor support. it ensures full compliance with the reduction levels through regulations. it ensures that we won't have energy disruptions and blackouts and grid problems. it keeps jobs, it spreads out
the cost so that utility payers are just hit with a shock of an increase in their bills, and the time to do it is set in a way that it will be accomplished within a short period of time. it synchronizes the two emissions processes, the sulfur, the my trust oxide as well as the mercury and other toxins so that they can do it at the same time. so we urge them to look at the details of the bill, to study this. i see no reason why those who are concerned just about the environment and those who might be concerned just about the production capacity can't come together in a reasonable compromise and achieve the ends that both want to meet. and with that, mr. president, i will yield the floor and turn it back to my colleague for whatever else he wants to conclude with. i thank him for his efforts in this whole process. we have been working together to do this in a way that both sides can support. with that, i yield the floor.
the presiding officer: the senator from west virginia. mr. manchin: i just want to say thank you to the senator from indiana, my good friend, senator coats, and for his dill generalcy in working on this. we are both concerned in the greatest nation on earth not to have an energy policy is wrong, but it's also wrong to be so insecure or less secure, if you will, by depending on foreign oil that we have. we know the results and what we're faced with now. what we're saying is let us comply, let us make sure that we're working in harmony with the environment and the economy, and we can make that happen. within a reasonable amount of time. that's all we have asked for. we're not asking for to make the rules less stringent or forget about the rules and throw caution to the wind. we know all the jobs are at stake. we know the economy is at stake. we know that basically the security of this nation is at stake. until we find a fuel of the future, we need to use what we have right here in america. this has been an energy. coal has supplied energy for 100
years and will until we find the fuel that will replace it that's dependable, reliable and affordable. what we're asking for is something reasonable and we're not blaming anything. with that, mr. president, may i say i ask unanimous consent that the reid for tester amendment number 927 be modified with the changes that are at the desk. the presiding officer: do i hear any objection? without objection, so ordered. mr. inhofe: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from oklahoma. mr. inhofe: mr. president, it's my understanding i could have as much as five minutes now. it went a little longer than i thought. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. inhofe: all right. you know -- and i appreciate very much what has just been described, and i think people, perhaps it can be simplified to look at it in terms of the overregulation that we're doing in this country. the fact that there is a direct relationship between the amount of revenue that comes into government and the amount of regulations. and i just -- i have always used -- in fact, it's still permissible to use it, according
to o.m.b. for each 1% reduction or addition to the g.d.p., that creates an additional $50 billion of reason. so there are other ways of doing it other than tax increases. so to turn it around the other way if you look at what this administration has done, they have such regulations the greenhouse gas regulations would be somewhere between $300 billion and $400 billion lost each year, the ozone which they postponed but nonetheless they proposed it, would be $676 billion in lost g.d.p. -- do your math on that, for each $50 billion -- for each 1% -- and 1% is $140 billion so for each 1% it would be about $50 billion loss in revenue. boiler mack, $1 billion loss in general g.d.p., utility mac, that's what they've been talking about across state lines, $140 billion in compliance cost, cement mac. all of these are shall, are
huge losers in terms of revenue that can be generated. so by only like to say, and i wish i had time to get into more detail on this, shortly we'll be voting for the -- voting on the mccain amendment numbered 928. it has a lot of great features in it but one that's been almost overlooked is the feature that would take away the jurisdiction of the environmental protection agency to regulate greenhouse gases. and this was the upton-inhofe bill, my bill actually was -- tested here, we had a majority of people who are in support of it. it passed overwhelmingly in the -- in the house of representatives. and what this part of this amendment does, it says that if you're going to do something like the -- would have been done by the waxman-markey bill, it would cost us not just once but every year between $300 billion and $400 billion and so the big question was, in
order for -- since the president could not -- get this body to pass a bill on -- on cap-and-trade bill, he decided he would do it through regulation and by doing it through regulation it would still cost between $300 billion and $400 billion a year. so with that, they had to come up with -- with an endangerment finding and it was predicated on flawed science. in fact, we have a recent response to a request by the i.g. of the e.p.a. that said in fact that was true. that the science that was -- on which this was based was flawed science. so what we are -- tried to do after we realized that and everyone else realized it, is go back to these people who are on record opposing a legislation regulating greenhouse gases and try to get a bill passed that would say that would take away the jurisdiction of the environmental protection agency on -- to regulate greenhouse
gases and that's what this is all about. this provision is the amendment numbered 928 by senator mccain and others, and i hope that people will realize in addition to those things that have been talked about in the new jobs that will come with the passage of that amendment there is also this provision, which would also be a huge boost to our economy. and eliminate unnecessary tax increase of between $300 billion and $400 billion a year. with that, i'll yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senate will resume consideration of h.r. 674 which the clerk will report. the clerk: calendar number 212, h.r. 674, an act to amend the internal revenue code of 1986 to repeal the imposition of 3% withholding on certain vendors for government entities and so forth and for other purposes.
the presiding officer: there will be 15 minute of debate equally divided. the senator from montana. mr. tester: thank you, mr. president. montanans who have done everything right are losing their jobs and some are losing their homes. to get the economy back on track we need to employ common sense. we need to put politics aside and work on behalf of the struggling families of this country. in particular we need to do the right thing on behalf of the people who serve our nation in uniform. the unemployment rate for younger veterans continues to remain well above average. it is unacceptably high and is getting worse. it's a national disgrace. our service men and women deserve better. these men and women left the comforts of home and put their lives on hold to fight for us in some of the harshest conditions imaginable. far too many have paid the ultimate sacrifice while
thousands continue to struggle with the wounds of war, those seen and those unseen. they face daily challenges many of us can never fully comprehend and endured sacrifices we can never fully repay. many served multiple tours, many the montana national guard's largest unit was sent to iraq twice in the last eight years. that's a long time especially for a reserve component to be away from home but they carried out their assignments as the best-trained, most professional military in the world and for that, we are prow and we are grateful. when i visited iraq and afghanistan earlier this year i was protected by some of the most well trained, downright inspirational men and women our country has ever produced. i recall standing at a base overlooking a valley in afghanistan where months earlier the taliban had run roughshod. i thought how difficult the conditions were for the young men and women who were there wearing the uniform of our
country standing shoulder to shoulder with members of the afghan army. in the hours we were there, i did not hear one complaint. only commitment and pride in their work from our troops. i'll never forget that. if we fail to do right by them, what does that say about us? simply put, we have a responsibility to provide for all veterans and their families. it is something that i have never taken lightly and something that continues to motivate me every single day. it means providing them with the best services and care that we can provide and it means giving them every opportunity to succeed and empowering them with the tools that they need to find good-paying jobs. the legislation before us today does exactly that. it would provide important tax credits to encourage more employers to hire veterans who are out of work. it would provide additional education and job training for veterans to gain additional skills to be more successful in an increasingly competitive job market. it would take important steps to help ease the transition between
military service and the civilian work force. mr. president, let me give you an example how this bill would direct drectly affect one of my constituents. a chap named nathan weems grew up in neemp northeastern montana. he attended montana university on an rotc scholarship and was destroyed deployed to iraq as a captain the army. during his years in the army he used his engineering degree but when he came home his military experience did not count toward his engineering certification. nathan has to spent a couple years building up the civilian equivalent of the experience he already has. just to be able to qualify to become a certified professional engineer. this bill will fix it to that military experience counts. this bill says if you spend six years in the army driving a truck, you ought to be able to get your commercial driver's license a whole lot faster than someone whos does not have that experience. it would require the department
of labor in conjunction with the department of v.a. to look at what skills and training should be translatable to the civilian sector and make it easier to licenses and certifications our veterans need. this bill will give employers valuable information about the skill sets our veterans have gained while they served in the military. these are the kind of commonsense ideas we ought to be taking a look at. it is the responsibility thing -- responsible thing to do for america's veterans and won't surprise anyone this proposal has ideas from both democrats and republicans because this is an issue that shouldn't be partisan. every member of the united states senate should be committed to helping veterans find jobs. montana has more veterans were captaina than any state in the union except alaska. we have 103,000 veterans in montana and as i travel across the state and visit with them and their families, the topic of veterans' employment remains at the forefront of their minds. it's important to them. it's important to their friends and loved ones.
it's important to our communities. and it should be important to each and every one of us. we deal with a lot of contentious issues here, but this should not be one of them. let's work together to do the right thing and get this bill passed because it's the least we can do for those whom we owe so much. with that, mr. president, i ask for the yeas and nays on this bill. on the amendment. i'm sorry. the presiding officer: without objection, the senator may ask for the yeas and nays on his amendment. mr. tester: i ask for the yeas and nays on this amendment. the presiding officer: without objection. is there a sufficient second? there appears to be a sufficient second. there is a sufficient second. the senator from massachusetts. mr. brown: thank you, mr. president. i thank the senator that spoke previously. mr. president, if we pass these two measures today, if we repeal the 3% withholding and take steps to help our veterans
find work, the american people will win and for one day at least, partisanship will lose. veterans day is tomorrow so let's renew our commitment to men and women who answered the call of duty and fought for us and our freedom and continue to do so. our returning heroes face a jobs crisis. it's relevant in massachusetts as it is in montana and every other state in this great country. we're here to make a difference today and that's what this bill will do. this bill which will give a much-needed needed boost, i filed the hire a hero act, imglad it's incorporated in the president's proposal and the 3% is something i've been working on for many months as well and i'm glad these two bills are finally coming to fruition. ill will give a needed boost to our heroes and improve the transition from military to civilian life and i hope congress will seize on this momentum and work in a bipartisan manner to pass more jobs legislation.
there are things that we, contrary to what you read and hear in the media, there are things that we all can agree on. these are two good examples. i say again today, if we can do these thing two things, repeal the 3% withholding and help our veterans, maybe it will usher in an era of goodwill. one good deed can lead to another good deed and so on and so on. let's end the stall tactics, do something meaningful for our veterans, let's start working together and above all, let's put americans first because we are all americans first. i thank the chair and i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from montana. mr. tester: i ask unanimous consent there are two minutes of debate equally divided in between the votes. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. tester: i note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll.
shortly. the presiding officer: the senate is in a quorum call, senator. mr. paul: can i ask unanimous consent to disopinions with the quorum call. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. paul: i rise in support of the republican jobs plan. i think it's very important that the american public know there are different visions about how we would create jobs in this country, whether the jobs should be created by the private sector or the jobs should be created by borrowing money from china, taxing you more, and then redistributing that money into government-created jobs. there are different visions in this country about how we create jobs. the one thing we know is that we need millions of jobs, not tens of thousands of jobs, but millions of jobs. so what i would ask the president to do is to come in from the campaign trail and talk to us. i think he needs to be here, not raising money, not out fundraising for his campaign, not bashing republicans on the campaign trail. he needs to be in washington.
he needs to be engaged with the committee, the super committee. he needs to be engaged with republican counterparts. i've told the president personally that i will work with him, that i will come from the republican side of the aisle and we could figure out areas in which we agree. there are many aspects of the republican jobs plan the democrats, some democrats have said they might support. reducing the corporate income tax, lowering the rates and eliminating loopholes. see, the thing is, on the campaign trail you're told that republicans are unwilling to eliminate loopholes for millionaires who don't pay taxes. the truth of the matter is we are very willing. this has been offered in the super committee. it's been offered by our side. it's offered in the republican jobs plan. we are willing to eliminate loopholes that make the tax code unfair, that allow either millionaires or corporations to pay no taxes. but we want to do it in the context of tax reform.
there are a couple of things historically that government has done that created jobs. in the 1960's, president kennedy reduced the top rate from 90 to 70. unemployment was cut in half. in the 1980's, reagan lowered the top rate from 70 to 50. unemployment was cut in half. reagan again lowered the top rate from 50 to 28 and unemployment raws cut in half. interestingly, through all of these rate cuts of the top taxpayers, as we cut the rates, tax revenue didn't go down. tax revenue has stayed about 18% of g.d.p. no matter what the rates are. but what lowering the top rates does, is it spawns economic activity. so i would ask the president to come in from the campaign trail, to come in from his canadian bus tour and talk to us on the hill. talk to us about ways we could
create jobs again. we need millions of jobs, 14 million americans are out of work. two million americans have lost their jobs since this president came into the white house. they say the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. we need conversation on capitol hill between republicans and democrats, but we also need leadership from the white house. continuing to bash us on the trail on the campaign trail is getting us nowhere as a country. a up of things i've heard from the president as he's campaigned around the country. one, he said that republicans are too stupid to understand his plan so he's going to break up his jobs plan and give it to us in pieces because we can't understand the whole thing. now, in diplomacy they sometimes talk about the stick and the care 90. i'm still feeling -- ircarrot. what we need to have is conversation in this country
where we can bridge some differences, find our common ground. we have a corporate income tax higher than anybody in the world. we keep heaping on new regulations on to our businesses. we need to lower our corporate income tax. how can you compete? we worry about jobs going overseas. the presiding officer: the senator's time has expired. mr. paul: thank you, very much. i urge support of the republican jobs plan. the presiding officer: the question is on the mccain amendment number 928. [inaudible] the presiding officer: is there a sufficient second? there appears to be. the yeas and nays are ordered. the clerk will call the roll. vote:
the presiding officer: on this vote, the yeas are 40, the nays are 46, and one senator responded present. under the previous order requiring 60 votes for the adoption of this amendment, the amendment is not agreed to. there will now be two minutes of debate equally divided. the senator from montana. mr. tester: we're now going to take up amendment 927, which is the vow to hire heroes act. this is the veterans employment act that has broad based,
bipartisan. it has republican ideas, it has democratic ideas in it. it's paid for. it's the right thing to do because we all know that veterans right now that are returning from iraq and afghanistan have a much higher unemployment rate than the rest of our population. the presiding officer: the senate will be in order. the senator from montana. mr. tester: because of that high unemployment rate, it's necessary that we get this amendment passed and attached to this bill. i would ask concurrence with amendment 927. a senator: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from virginia. mr. warner: i want to rise in support of my friend, the senator from montana, and commend him for his leadership on this issue and look forward to supporting him in his effort to support our veterans. the presiding officer: is there further debate? if not, the question is on the
the presiding officer: are there any senators who have not yet voted or wish to change their vote? if not, on this vote the yeas are 94. the nays are 1. one senator announced "present." under the previous order requiring 60 votes for the adoption of this amendment, the amendment is agreed to. the clerk will read the bill for the third time. the clerk: calendar number 212, an act to amend the internal revenue code of 1976 and so for and for other purposes. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the question is on the passage of
the bill as amended. a senator: mr. president? mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from massachusetts. mr. brown: mr. president, thank you. i just want to remind everybody that this is on the 3% withholding, something that i know i've been working on and others have been working on for some time. it's part of the president's jobs bill. who said we can't get together and do something? by working together, we're going to do something that the american people want: get rid of the stealth tax. it's basically hurting job creation in my state and in your states and throughout the country. i want to thank the leadership on both sides for working through this. i encourage everyone to vote for it. i hope we can have a nice signing ceremony when it's done to show that there is truly bipartisan work. because one good deed equals another good deed, and so on and so forth. remember, we're americans first, and we need to start doing
the presiding officer: are there any senators in the chamber wishing to vote or change their vote? if not, on this vote, the yeas are 95, the nays are zero. one senator announced "present." and the bill, as amended, is passed. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. reid: the next vote will be on cloture on the energy and water appropriations bill. that'll be the last vote of the day. there will be no votes on friday or monday. there will be debate on this measure we are going to vote cloture -- we hope to invoke cloture in a few minutes. the debate will be monday afternoon, senators feinstein and alexander are the mearchtion that have bill. we'll start that on monday. there will be a vote tuesday morning on a judge, so we -- that's -- have a good break and we feel pretty good about the work we the g.a.o. done this week.
-- we got done this week. the presiding officer: the clerk will report the motion to invoke cloture. the clerk: cloture motion: we, the undersigned senators, in accordance with the provisions of rule 22 of the standing rules of the senate, do hereby move to bring to a close debate on an act making aproceedingses for energy and water development and reemented agencies signed by 17 senators. the presiding officer: by unanimous consent, the mandatory quorum call has been waived. the question is, is it the sense of the senate that debate on the motion to proceed to h.r. 2354, an act making appropriations for energy and water development and related agencies for the fiscal year ending september 30, 2012, and for other purposes, shall be brought to a close? the yeas and nays are mandatory under the rule. the clerk will call the roll. vote:
the presiding officer: are there any senators in the chamber wishing to vote or change their vote? on this vote, the yeas are 81, the nays are 14. three fifths of the senators duly chosen and sworn having voted in the affirmative, the motion is agreed to. the senator from ohio. mr. brown: thank you, madam president. i ask unanimous consent that after my remarks of no more than 12 minutes, say, that senator coburn be recognized for up to 15 minutes and then senator harkin be recognized to address the senate. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection. mr. brown: thank you, madam president. on tuesday, madam president, ohio, my state, made history.
overwhelmingly, ohio voters made a simple choice between what is right and what is wrong. they answered the question the question at the heart of any election -- whose side are you on. tuesday, ohioans showed they stand with teachers and firefighters, with police officers and nurses and librarians and other public workers and the middle class. they showed they want leaders focused on creating jobs rather than taking pot shots at people who teach, who plow our roads, who guard our prisons, who teach our children, who safeguard our public health. and they showed they're ready to rebuild what was once a national consensus. it's that our nation's strength is rooted in the strength of our middle class. there used to be a consensus, madam president, among educators and elected officials, community leaders, business leaders that our economies is -- that our economy's designed to build a strong middle class, to help people become part of that middle class. we used to see that consensus on medicare and pell grants, on
civil rights, on women's rights, on tax and economic policy. and we used to have that consensus on collective bargaining rights, rights earned at the bargaining table provide a path to the middle class for millions of workers who belong to unions and millions of workers who do not belong to unions. collective bargaining is the tool we've had in this country for three-quarters of a century for labor and management relations in a democracy. collective bargaining has helped minimize strikes and work stoppage because it allows a process where people sit down at a table, talk to one another, disagree, come to agreement, come to consensus, a process to resolve disputes. in ohio, balanced budgets and collective bargaining have coexisted for nearly three decades. collective bargaining not only strengthens middle-class jobs, it protects public health, it protects community safety. during the passage of the legislation called senate bill 5 earlier this year that was
rammed through the legislature by -- by the republican governor and the republican leaders -- republican majority in the house and senate even though a number of republicans dissented on it, during that period, i had a rounds-table in a church right by -- right on capitol square in columbus. a teacher said to me, yo you kn, not only when i bargain, a young teacher in columbus said, when i bargain, sit at the bargaining table and bargain on behalf of my teachers, i don't just bargain for better wages and better -- and -- and higher -- and better pensions and -- and health care. she said, i also bargain for class size because i know my colleagues can teach better and students can learn better if class sizes are smaller. and then a police officer said, when i bargain, i not only bargain for better wages, of course, and better benefits for my -- for my members, fraternal order of police. i also bargain for safety vests because it matters to me that the men and women who wear --
wear the badge work in the safest possible conditions. but somewhere along the way, we lost this consensus that we once had in this country. we've seen at statehouses across the country, from what we've seen, you'd think that teachers and nurses, you'd think that sanitation workers and firefighters, you'd think police officers and librarians caused the fiscal crisis in the budget deficit. we hear governors around the country, we hear washington pundits talk about the privileged class of publi public-sector workers. now, who's playing class warfa warfare? when, in fact, they say they go after public workers to the point that i've heard -- i've heard young teachers tell me and i've heard parents who have kids in college at bowling green or akron u. or university of toledo or xavier say, you know, my daughter, my son, they were going to be teachers but i'm not sure they want to be with what the governor -- the attacks that the governor and conservative politicians have made against teachers. so who are these privileged elite that these -- that -- that
have been attacked by conservative politicians? they're the people that clear snow off our streets. they're the people that run into burning buildings to save people and property. they're people that teach our children. so let's be clear. it was recklessness on wall street that caused the financial crisis, not teachers, not librarians, not mental health counselors, not sanitation workers, not cafeteria workers at mansfield senior high. it's a crisis made worse by our nation's economic tilt away from manufacturing. 30 years ago -- more than 25% of the g.d.p. in our country was in manufacturing. only about 10% was financial services. madam president, that's almost flipped now. financial services is about a quarter of our g.d.p. and manufacturing's only 10% or 11%. you know what it's done, madam president, you know what it's done in your home state of missouri, what this means for middle-class workers, that we've moved far too much into -- into
financial services because of government policy and far too -- far too much away from manufacturing. states face budget crises because people don't have jobs, don't have these good-paying jobs and can't pay taxes so the revenue doesn't come. yet instead of a balanced approach to state fiscal problems, we've had an ideologically motivated approach to destroy collective bargaini bargaining. the elections last year, one year ago this week there was a sweep in my state, as there was in some other states, of republicans all saying that bring us -- bring us -- put us in office and we'll fix this jobs problem, with all the lost jobs. and they won in large part because of all the lost jobs. that's what elections are about. yet almost from the beginning, the governor and the radicals in the legislature in my state, they didn't do a lot about jobs. what they did a lot of was they attacked collective bargaining, they attacked women's rights, collective bargaining rights,
they attacked women's rights, they attacked voting rights. that's not what we should be doing. we should be working together on job creation. they seemed in many ways more interested in payback than in progress. that's not shared sacrifice, so just as the middle class, madam president, didn't happen on its own, it will not unravel on its own either. tuesday, ohioans took an important step in protecting the very rights, the rights of collective bargaining that people of all stripes in our country have enjoyed for 75, 80, 85 years. they took an important step in protecting the very collective bargaining rights that created our middle class. now, madam president, our mission is to continue to build a strong middle class to help people become part of the middle class. it's about creating jobs. it's about fairness. for too long, there has been class warfare in this country waged from the top, aimed at the middle class. when the wealthiest people in this country continue to do better and better in the wide swath of people in the middle, 70%, 80%, 90% have barely had a
pay increase in ten years, you know that's what's happened, that they love to say that our side commits class warfare. really what's happened, madam president, they have committed the class warfare. we're just pointing it out. in the class warfare they have committed, as i have said, it has been class warfare waged from the top aimed right at the middle class, and that's a big reason we have seen this decline in the middle class. well, tuesday, this week, ohio pushed back, will continue to do so. we'll continue to do so because this nation is exceptional. it's exceptional because of our continued struggle to form a more perfect union. where opportunity grows and expands for all. it is not restricted to a privileged few. we do so because we're a nation, and my state of ohio is a state that speaks more loudly and fights harder and stands up for the dignity of work and the honor of fair play. madam president, i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from oklahoma.
mr. coburn: i would ask unanimous consent that following senator harkin, that the senator from georgia be recognized, senator isakson. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. coburn: myself and senator barrasso are two of the three doctors in the senate, and both of us have practiced over 25 years, and we have put out several reports, but every year medicare recipients receive a message from medicare, medicare and you. what we thought we would do is come to the floor and tell our colleagues, as well as the american people, that we have put out a medicare and you, because there was a lot of information that wasn't in the medicare and you report this year, and we're just going to -- and i would ask unanimous consent that we have a colloquy between myself and the senator from wyoming, dr. barrasso, as to what we are reporting in our medicare and you statement.
the presiding officer: without objection. mr. coburn: this booklet, which will be available on coburn coburn.senate.gov and barrasso barrasso.senate.gov for every medicare patient out there explains exactly what has happened to medicare in the last year and a half. it explains $530 billion have been cut out of medicare. it explains that physician reimbursement cuts were not addressed when we addressed health care and consequently a 27% cut is coming if congress doesn't change that. it explains that medicare advantage, both the options and the number of people eligible for that, has been taken away by the affordable care act. it explains that the class act was put in to save money, but in fact won't save money and now has been abandoned by the administration. it explains the fact that there is an independent payment
advisory board whose sole purpose is to cut payments for medicare procedures and supplies and drugs to save money, even when that will instigate the loss of available drugs. and finally, it creates a $10 billion trust fund for an innovation center that is a smoke screen for a rationing board very similar to the ipod. and with that, i'd like for dr. barrasso to go over the medicare cuts if he would at this time. mr. barrasso: thank you, mr. president. i would tell you i want to thank and congratulate dr. coburn for his significant leadership in this area. medicare patients all across the country are getting a thick book, 150 pages or so. the one in wyoming about 150 pages called "medicare and you 2012." under dr. coburn's leadership,
we have prepared a report also called "medicare and you 2012," but it is, as i do every week, a second opinion about the big book that people are getting at home. the cover of this is quite distinct from the book that goes to other medicare patients around the country because this starts by saying your medicare program was cut $530 billion by president obama's controversial health law and used for a brand-new program for someone else. that is the fundamental problem here, madam president. when we talk about medicare, we think of our parents, we think of others, i think of so many of my patients on medicare. we need to strengthen medicare. what this administration did by taking $530 billion from the health care law has not strengthened medicare. it's devastated medicare and our seniors on medicare to the point where the medicare actuary said that the funding will be
exhausted by 2016, just five years from now, and we go through that in this report. my concern, madam president, is that my patients, dr. coburn's patients, will see their health care impacted by a denial of care, by care being refused because of the law, the limitations within the law and the significant impacts on physicians, on hospitals, on nursing homes, on hospices, on home health agencies which are a lifeblood for our seniors, all as a result of what we have just seen passed and signed into law by this president. and it's interesting because we have recently heard from the senator from ohio who talked about the vote in ohio on tuesday. what was not brought up is that there was another ballot initiative specifically related to the obama health care law, and those same people that he was praising for their voting also voted 2-1 by a margin of
over a million voters that they did not want the obama health care mandate to apply to them. this is no surprise and the popularity of this obama health care plan has continued to fall ever since it was signed into law. so i would ask my friend and colleague, dr. coburn, about some of the issues that are going to impact not just the patients through the payment mechanism but also their ability to even see a doctor under this medicare change. mr. coburn: the other thing that medicare recipients should recognize is under laws as previously said, the reimbursement for your physician in january is scheduled to decline 27%. when i talk to seniors in the state of oklahoma, one of the number-one problems that somebody turning 65 has is now finding a physician who will
care for them under medicare payment guidelines. what was never spoke of was the fact that there was no fix in the health care bill for the very real need to attract more physicians into caring for seniors. and so as we have seen, congress may or may not fix that. it's $300 billion to fix that. that's the cost of it. whether we fix it or not. the fact is we're playing with the access of medicare patients to care, and denied access is denied care, and if you live in a community much like my community where no new doctors had been coming in because there is a shortage of primary care doctors, and those that do come in will not take the lowered reimbursement for medicare because they can't afford to, saying you have medicare and meaning you have to drive 70 miles to get that care is not
access and it's not health care. it means you don't have available health care because the government runs the program so poorly. the other thing -- let me finish up since we don't want to go over our time -- is i want to talk about for a minute this innovation center. in the health care law, we set aside a $10 billion slush fund for innovation in payment and procedures for medicare patients we're going to be spending $10 billion to figure out how to pay for it more cheaply and limit the combinations or increase the combinations of combining these things so that the reimbursements are less. first of all, i don't understand why it's going to take $10 billion, but it's a slush fund. number two is if you don't like the results of that, there's nothing we can do about it except reverse the affordable care act, obamacare.
number two, you can't sue. you have no injuctive relief. you have no opportunity to express your desire in a court of law or through an administrative procedure to challenge their elimination of paying for certain procedures that may in fact save the country money but may in fact also hurt the very patients that are on medicare. so we have this fund which we can't find out anything about. no rules have been put out on it, we can't find the details of it, and yet we know what the purpose of the fund is. it's just like the ipad fund. it is designed to ration the care that seniors need to control the cost of medicare. what do we know about medicare? we know one in every three dollars that's spent on it doesn't help anybody get well and doesn't keep anybody from getting sick, and the reason it
doesn't work is because the government's mandate. we have all these stories about shortages of drugs right now. the reason there are shortages of drugs in a country, in our country is because medicare has mandated prices on 90% of the time so low that we only have one supplier. some of them either have a technical problem or have decided to stop making a drug that's critical to our seniors because we have a price control bureaucracy, so there are large problems with the medicare law. they need to be recognized and addressed, they need to be fixed, and the last thing we ought to do is spend $10 billion figuring out how to not get somebody treatment or lessen the availability of treatment through the innovation council. and i would yield the rest of my time to the senator from wyoming. mr. barrasso: it just seems to me -- and dr. coburn and i have talked about this -- that there is a program that his patients, my patients have enjoyed called medicare advantage, and there is
an advantage for patients signing up for that program. about one in four americans on medicare sign up for medicare advantage, and the advantages of this program are that it coordinates care, it works with preventative care, but yet the president has targeted that for elimination, and by 2017, half of the people on this program that they like, they have chosen, they have signed up for will no longer be eligible to participate in this program because of this health care law, and we explain that to the american people in our second opinion on medicare and you. and finally, dr. coburn has talked about the ipab, this independent payment board. to me, it's a rationing board, a board designed to design care, to refuse care. these are unelected bureaucrats. unelected bureaucrats don't need to have a medical doctor's background, don't need to necessarily see patients. specifically related to cutting
the amount of money that is paid for patients to have procedures, to see patients, to see physicians, to get the care they need, which is why there is great concern throughout this country and why the president's health care law becomes more unpopular every day. mr. coburn: if the gentleman would yield just for one moment. one of the reasons our cancer cure rates are a third better than england is because we don't have an ipab board and they do. and the number-one reason survival rates from cancer in england are lower is because treatment's denied by their ipab board for the best treatment that will save the most people's lives at the best price. that's something that should not be discounted. thank you, madam president. i yield the floor. mr. barrasso: and, madam president, i would just say that this health care law continues to be bad for patients, bad for providers, the nurses and doctors who take care of those patients and bad for the
taxpayers. thank you, madam president. i yield the floor. mr. harkin: i'd like to take the opportunity to talk about a bill passed out of the health committee which i chair, and which senator mike enzi of wyoming is the ranking member. this bipartisan bill reauthorizes the education act of 1965 and would replace its current it ration which everyone knows by the title of no child left behind. i want to start with a few words about the federal floal education in this country since esca is a key part of that role. while education is primarily a state and local function, the federal government does play an important role. a well educated citizenry is
clearly in the national interest. the central federal role is to ensure all americans regardless of race, gender, and disability have the same equal opportunity as any other other american citizen. likewise the constitution spreasly states our national government was formed specifically to promote the general welfare and to secure the blessings of liberty. the general welfare, i submit, is greatly endangered when the populace is not adequately educated and education is critical to little bit. as frederick dug last noted, it it -- frederick douglass means, emancipation means liberty, end quote. it is no surprise that the northwest ordinance of 1787 spreasly stated that the means of education shall be forever encouraged. that law encouraged new territories to establish schools. the federal government also encouraged states to establish
public colleges and universities through the morell act of 1862. that started the whole land-grant college movement. moving into the 21st century, the -- the 20th century, the g.i. bill provided grants to world war ii veterans to pursue a college education. in 1954, the supreme court struck down laws endorsing racial segregation in public schools. in 1958, congress authorized the national defense education act, the first federal loan program for students for higher education. that was one i borrowed money from when i went to iowa state university. that was followed by the higher education act of 1965, the federal pell grants enacted in 197. the elementary and secondary education act was passed in 1965, provided aids to school districts to provide education to children from low-income families and in 1975 the
congress passed the handicapped act, which became idea, that was to assist states and districts in educating children with disabilities. in 1994 congress passed the goals 2000, educate america act and improving america's school act. in 2001 congress passed the no child left behind act, which went even further in terms of what was required of schools to receive federal funds. i go through all this so you can see the federal role in education spans over 200 years and its primary objective has been to increase educational opportunity and enhance educational attainment. this context is important to any discussion about the reauthorization of the elementary and secondary education act. the original goal of esea was to provide resources to schools with the most disadvantaged student. this funding was needed because many states and districts use
education funding formulas that provide fewer resources to high poverty schools. again i always say go back and read jonathan cosal's book "savage inequalities" written in the 1980's in which he pointed out the gross inequality in our schools in america depending upon your zip code, depending on where you live. we knew from that time that educating poor students actually requires more resources, not fewer and title i was our attempt to create a better and more equitable system. title i of esca has not fully realized that goal but has served a source of funding to impoverished schools leading to more educational opportunity to low-income students over the last 40 years. in the early 1990's a national consensus emerged around the idea for the united states to
maintain competitiveness in the world economy our education system needed significant improvements. foremost among these was the movement for 5, quote, standard based reform, end quote. that was the idea that statewide academic standards and assessments aligned with those standards was a key lever for ensuring that all students receive a good education. to that end in 1994 reauthorization of esca required states have one educational accountability system for all students, including racial and ethnic minorities, students with disabilities and english language learners. along with goals 2000, it required states to put in place standards and assessments so we actually know how students were doing. during the next reauthorization, that was the no child left behind act in 2001, lawmakers felt compelled to be more prescriptive with states to ensure they improved their low-performing schools and
focused on closing pernicious student achievement gaps. therefore nclb as it's known defined adequate yearly progress for schools and districts. it required districts to implement public school choice, supplemental services in schools and set aside 20% of title i funds for these activities. it also included a list of rigorous intervention for schools and corrective action and additional category of restructuring for the most chronically low-performing schools with even more severe consequences attached. and what was the result of this more heavy handed and prescriptive version of esca? well, the proficiency illusion, a 2007 record by the fordham institute found state definitions of student proficiency varied aratally and comparisons across the states were not valid. a new term was termed in
education, called the hockey stick. in reaction to the 2014 proficiency deadline that schools were to meet, what happened is that states back loaded the student gains needed to reach this goal. so it kind of came in the shape of a hockey stick, laying on its side, so at low levels and all of a sudden in the last two or three years all of these proficiency standards would have to be met. that's why so many, so many more schools are now failing to make adequate yearly progress across the country as we approach 2014, the slope gets steeper and tougher for them to make that yearly progress. another thing happened, districts responded to the new restructuring category by choosing the least prescriptive prescriptive -- some would say the weakest -- option. in effect, districts could do as much or as little as they wanted in these severely underperforming schools.
lastly, the no child left behind law drove a critical transparency and focus on the performance of student subgroups. which was good. but it's prescriptiveness led to a culture of compliance and not innovation. so they would comply, but nothing would be done to change the system. given this history, we must now ask what the next reauthorization of esca should look like. should the federal government come down harder on states and driz consists he districts, be more prescriptive, more punitive? i believe strongly we must maintain a robust federal role. looking at the recent assessment of educational progress, called nape, strch nape scores, 50% of the students eligible for free or reduced lunch -- read that as poor kids. 50% of poor kids scored below
basic on the fourth grade reading assessment as compared to only 17% of students who were not eligible for free and reduced price lunches. 50% of the poor kids read below basic compared to only 17% of kids that were not poor. on the eighth grade mathematics assessment, almost half, 49% of african-american students scored below basic. got that? on math. eighth grade. 49% of african-american students scored below basic. as compared to only 16% of white students. madam president, we believe in equal opportunity in this country, but you cannot have equality of opportunity when you have inequality of education. our economy, our ethics, our
commitment to equal opportunity all demand that the federal government continue to have a strong role in ensuring an educated citizenry. but just as a federal role has evolved from federal land grands grants to student pell grants, we must be willing to shift to new approaches when the old ones rrnt working. i do not believe that no child left behind -- aren't working. i don believe that no child left behind is the pinnacle of education laws. i believe we can and must do better. our bipartisan bill follows a different course, one of a more strategic partnership, partnership, with states and districts within federal guidelines, federal parameters. it's important to know that states have stepped up to the standards and accountability plate in recent years. in 2009, the conquer standards initiative was launched, a state-led effort to develop high quality standards, common across state lines. right? thus far, 46 states and the district of columbia have adopted the english language
arts standards and 45 states have adopted the math standards. in 2011, the council of chief state school officers released its accountability principles for next generation accountability systems now endorsed by 45 states. these principles include setting performance goals for all schools and districts aligned to college and career-ready standards. measuring student outcomes based on status and growth. differentiating between schools and districts and providing supports and interventions, targeting the lowest performing schools for significant interventions. states also committed through these principles to doing deeper diagnostic reviews as appropriate. looking at more than just student test scores and high school graduation rates to better link accountability determinations to meaningful supports and interdiscretions. this is all being done by the states. so these commitments by the states have led me to believe that we may be entering an era
in which the federal government can work in partnership with states to improve our nation's schools. while continuing to provide a backstop to avoid returning to old ways of discrimination and exclusions. and i think that's what the bipartisan bill passed by the health committee last month does. this bill in many ways resembles the esca blueprint released by secretary duncan almost two years ago. our bill gets rid of a.y.p., the annual yearly progress, but it sets federal parameters for state designed accountability systems. which they're already doing, doing on their own. now, these systems must cover all students, including students with indicts disabilities had disabilities and english language learners. they must continue to measure and report on the performance of all schools. they must expect continuous improvement for all schools and subgroups of students.
and must provide for interventions in low performing schools or schools with low achieving subgroups. state accountability plans are also subject to peer review and approval by the secretary of education, an important safeguard on the quality and integrity of these systems. in short, we do not want to have a race to the bottom type of a system where schools -- states race to the bottom to see who has to do the least to meet these quality improvements. to help communities bill has the high bar of having students graduate from high school and college career ready. it tightens the focus on low achieving schools, the bottom 5% and our nation's dropout factories, those high schools that account for -- that graduate less than 60% of their students, less than 60% of their students. we also focus on those schools
with significant student achievement gaps. what i mean by that are sometimes you might have very good schools by all appearances, all the test scores are great, they graduate a lot of students, but there are subgroups there, usually students of color, english language learners, students with disabilities that aren't receiving the proper type of education. but because the rest of the school looks so good, they're sort of not seen. they're sort of invisible. these are the achievement gap schools we have focused on and which i might add the states have already said that they're going to focus on, too. our bill takes the significant step of closing the comparability loophole so that funds provided through title i of esca will finally serve as additional dollars, not replacement dollars but additional dollars for our neediest students and title i schools will get their fair share of federal resources.
it also provides districts with more flexibility and in how states and districts spend their federal funds while ensuring that the resources designated to serve our most disadvantaged students get to those students. the bill insent advises the development of rigorous and fair principle and teacher evaluation systems. we don't mandate it, but we do insent advise teacher and -- inincentivize these systems. and provides the staff with the tools they need to improve teaching and learning. the bill also provides systems r early learning programs and has new protections for some of our most vulnerable children: oldest kids, students in foster care, so they can be better served by schools. our bill strategically consolidates programs and focuses grant funds on a smaller number of programs to allow for
greater flexibility. it invests in effective programs to train and support principals and teachers for high-needs schools. it fosters innovation through new programs like race to the top, investing in innovation and promise neighborhoods. madam president, as i said many times over the past few weeks, i believe this is a good bill. i'm proud of our efforts. the bill is the result of many months of bipartisan negotiation and as such a carefully crafted compromise. it does not contain everything i want, nor does it contain everything that senator enzi wanted. i said the other day this is not my bill and it is not senator enzi's bill, but it is our bill. i don't mean just the two of us, but i mean our committee bill. it is as currently written a bill that moves us forward beyond the punitive nature of no child last behind. i want to make clear that as this process moves forward, i believe it is critical, crucial
that we maintain the integrity and balance of this bipartisan compromise. we owe it to our kids and our nation to produce a strong bill that will actually move the tphaoelgdz in improving -- needle in improving our educational system. that will be the barometer that will guide me as this process moves forward. to this end, i would note that historically education policy has been done in a bipartisan fashion, and i believe the house must also maintain that approach. without a bipartisan bill coming out of the house, i believe it would be difficult to find a path forward that will draw the support we need from both sides of the aisle to be able to send a final bill to the president that he can sign. here in the senate, we have demonstrated it is possible to reach bipartisan consensus on esea. we all need to work together in a bipartisan way to replace "no child left behind" with this new and better law. with the reauthorization of
esea, we are on the brink of change, and change many times is difficult. but we must work together to move from a culture of minimal compliance with federal requirements to one of shared innovation, shared responsibility and success for students. i look forward to working towards this new partnership and to the next chapter of an effective federal role in promoting educational excellence. madam president, i yield the floor. a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from georgia. mr. isakson: madam president, tomorrow i will join with what i hope will be every american in paying tribute to our veterans who have served us over 200 years to protect the liberty and the freedom and the peace that all of us enjoy. our veterans from the revolutionary war veterans that created this republic to the veterans that serve today in afghanistan and the war on terror. in hef try every -- in history every generation has been called in a time of trouble and every
generation responded. there are significant dates in the history of our country that remind us of the great military victories that we have had and the great sacrifice our soldiers have made. december 7, 1941, the terrible attack on pearl harbor. the june 6, 1944, when americans bravely stormed omaha beach and began the invasion of europe which ran out nazi germany. we all remember with horror and terror 9/11/2001, when new york, washington and all of america and all peace-loving people were attacked by al qaeda and just a few days later, september 20, when we began to initiate our effort to go after al qaeda wherever it was and now recognize a little over ten years later terrorists have been disrupted, bin laden has been killed and america and the world are a safer place. when the financial and economic history of our country, there have also been significant dates which we should remember and significant responses which we also should recognize. the tragedy of october 1929 when
the market crashed and the great depression began. the difficulty of black friday in 1987 when the markets had a terrible crash. those were all memorable times where we hateed to see our financial and economic stability upset. there's another critical day coming in america's history, and it's coming 13 days from days on the 23rd of november 2011, when the select committee which we in this senate and the members of the house created to address our troubles economically in this country which are rooted in our spending, rooted in our tax system and rooted in our entitlement system. the select committee is to come back with at least $1.2 trillion in cuts, revenue increases or reform of entitlements over a ten-year period of time to be matched with the $900 billion we cut in august to hopefully get us on some type of a track that will be a sustainable recovery in getting our balance back in line. but there's a fear that a deal will not be reached, and that is a failure that is not an option,
in my judgment. yesterday there was an offer put on the table that involved revenues, involved the reform of entitlements and involved spending cuts. put on the table to begin the discussion to find common ground to have $1.2 trillion or more in cuts. unfortunately, as i understand it, the conversation ended and they're not back at the table yet, and there are 13 days left to go. as just one member of the senate, but as the father of three and grandfather to nine, someone who's lived in this country almost 67 years, i want to implore my colleagues on the select committee and all of us in the senate to be supportive of their effort to get them back to the table, put all issues on the table and understand that failure is not an option. you know, today in greece, in italy and in spain and in the european union this great fear, there is a search for leadership and those who can control their debt, control of their entitlements and control of their spending. america as it led on d-day, june
6, 1944; as it led in the battle against al qaeda and terrorists, must lead economically at this time more than ever. it's time for us to put forward a plan that tpweufs us a -- gives us a chance to recover our economy over time, lower our debt and our deficit over time and reduce our spending over time. it's not an instant one-day cure that we seek but it's an amortization of our liabilities to get our leverage down and our hopes and our prosperity up. so as one member of the senate, i implore our members of our select committee to come back to the table, to put every issue on the table, to forthrightly discuss them and understand that the 23rd of november, 2011 is going to be an historic day in this country, historic because we found a solution and began a process. or historic because we as americans for the first time looked the other way. as one member of the senate, i don't want to look the other way. i want to look my constituents square in the eye and say i was willing to look at spending, i
was willing to look at entitlement, i was willing to look at revenues. i'm willing to find a path forward so america can remain in the future what it always has been, and that's a beacon of economic security in a troubled world. i yield back the balance of my time and note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:# quorum call:
the presiding officer: the senator from maryland. mr. cardin: i ask unanimous consent that the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. cardin: madam president, i ask consent to speak as if in morning business. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. cardin: madam president, tomorrow our nation will pay our respect and honor to the men and women who have served in our military on veterans day. i know we say this frequently, but every day we should honor the men and women who have served our nation in uniform. every day we should have in our thoughts and prayers those who are currently in harm's way defending america's freedom. we want to make sure we do everything we can to make sure they have the support of this nation to complete their mission safely and return to their families safely. so i take this time to express the appreciation of this senator on behalf of the people of maryland to the men and women who have served our nation, who are our veterans, their families
and those who are currently serving our nation in the military service. they have defended this nation and the freedoms that we enjoy today, from our traditional threats from hostile countries to our current threats that come from extremists and terrorists. our men and women in our armed forces have served our nation very, very proudly. now, madam president, we need to show our appreciation by words and deeds, and i know that i speak for the members of this body that we need to make sure that we provide the very best in health care to those who are returning from iraq and afghanistan, and those who have served in our nation. i have visited and seen firsthand our soldiers who have returned and how they are being treated, and i tell you, we need to do and keep up this commitment. it's interesting, madam president -- i'm going to compliment my friend, congressman rufisberger, who
started a program known as "the miles for heroes," where coamings who are returning home would come into b.w.i. airport in baltimore. for them to get to their home, they had to purchase their own tickets in order to see their families. in many cases they're soldiers who returned home to treatment. their families could not afford to travel to visit them in the medical facility. and congressman ruth listberger introduced a plan where you can donate frequent flyer miles so that soldiers and their families could get airline tickets to see each other. and it's been extremely successful. we celebrated an anniversary of that event not too long ago at the b.w.i. airport. i mention that because i have found s. 1776 -- filed s. 1776 to extend this program to hotel moms so that families cannot
only have the transportation costs to visit their wounded warriors but also have a place to stay. i think that makes abundant sense, and i hope that we'll be able to act on that. to me, this is what we should be doing on veterans day, not only again showing our words but also showing our deeds. when i was at baltimore washington international airport, i had a chance too to visit returning soldiers, literally just coming home from afghanistan and iraq. it was an incredible experience to see on their face as they reunited with their families, having served this nation in combat. but i tell you, there was also concern on some of their faces because they don't know whether they're going to have a job to return to once they return to the united states. well, we took some steps to help them today in that regard. but the passage after bill that will provide incentives for employers to provide employment for our veterans returning home
from afghanistan and iraq. that's exactly what we should be doing, showing our support for our veterans. so, madam president, i just wanted to take this time to pay respect and honor to those who've served in our military. tomorrow on november 11 at 11:00 in the morning, i will be at the veterans cemetery for a commemoration where we will pay honor to all the men and women who have served our nation, and i will then express on behalf of the people of maryland and i think the people of this nation our gratitude for preserving our way of life and being a beacon of hope for freedom-loving people around the world. madam president, i want to ask unanimous consent that i have -- that the next remarks be separated in the record from my first remarks. the presiding officer: without objection, so ordered. mr. cardin: thank you ukes madam president. earlier today we rejected the resolution by senator paul that
would have undone the cross-state air pollution standards. i voted against that resolution, and i just really want to compliment my colleagues for the strong bipartisan vote that rejected the resolution that would have prevented this regulation from going into effect. and i wanted to share with my colleagues some of my reasons. this is a a matter of just sense of fairness. and let me just talk for a minute, if i might, about maryland. maryland has done all that it can to protect the health of its citizens with some of the most stringent air -- clean air standards in the nation. we've done that. we've enacted those standards. we've implemented those standards. but here's the problem: 50% of the smog that comes into maryland that affects the health of marylanders comes in from other states. so maryland is doing everything it can to prevent the air
pollution in our state. it's coming in from other states affecting the health of our citizens. we have 140,000 maryland children who suffer from asthma. dirty air makes it difficult for these children to have a productive day in school. we have workers who can't work on bad air days. so it's critically important that we move forward with sensible cross-state air pollution standards. that's exactly what the obama administration brought forward and now, thanks to the vote of the senate, those regulations will be able to go forward. i also wanted to dispel another myth. there is some who say that you can't have clean air and job growth. you can't have a clean environment. you have to choose between jobs and the environment. i tell you, you need to have a clean environment in order to be able to get the type of job growth we want. i could give you the number of
people who lose days from work as a result of poor air quality, the effect it has on their health. i could talk about the productivity in the workplace as a result of illness that's generated because of dirty air. all that is absolutely -- has absolutely been documented by our scientists. they can demonstrate that. but let me talk a little bit about concrete jobs and the maryland example. in 2507, the maryland legislature -- in 2007, the maryland legislature implemented the toughest power plant emission laws on the east coast of the united states. they use 20d 02 as a -- they used 20023 t-a 2002 -- it will reduce nox emissions by 75% by next year. it will reduce mercury emissions by 90% by 2013. these are the major air pollutants that we're aimed at reducing fled maryland has done
that. what impact has it had on our economy? 2,000 skilled construction worker jobs were created as a result of the investment that was made in clean air. we now have one of the cleanest coal-burning power plants in the country. that's the legacy that maryland has given us. we've created jobs, created jobs and have done what we can for clean air to help our children and help our community. but as i said earlier, there's very little more that maryland can do. we have to rely now on the help of other states. it's for that reason that we've seen utilities that are supporting us. constellation energy, excel leon, p.g. and e have supported reasonable standards for air quality and they recognize it's the right thing to do to have these standards apply to all states because muse knows no state border.
-- because muse knows no state border. i was encouraged by the vote we had on the floor on this issue. it was a vote for healthy air for our children, for jobs for our construction industry and a stronger economy for america's future. madam president, i would yield the floor. a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from illinois is recognized. mr. kirk: madam president, i just want to follow the remarks of my colleague and do a colloquy briefly to say that i agree with him, which is why i voted to support restrictions on cross-state air pollution. certainly coming from maryland, i understand that one state can pollute another, especially given the prevailing westerly winds. but even in the state of illinois, we estimate that the world will reduce air pollution in chicagoland by 7% to 13% and in high ozone time, the highest
pollution, 24%. we've also seen quite a number of our power plants already reengineer their thrantses their plants to control pollution, expecting this regulation, which by the way comes from the bush administration initial legislation and pursuant to a federal court order. so i would commend my colleague and say that there is bipartisan agreement here that we control cross-state pollution and this rule by the data that was provided by the congressional research service has a significant amount of benefit in actually reducing particulate matter that would be in the state of illinois and especially eastern states in the united states. mr. cardin: if my colleague would yield, i thank you very much for your comments. we had a strong, bipartisan vote on the floor on this issue. you are exactly right. all states in this country will benefit from it. illinois is a state that also receives pollution from other states. pollution does not know a state
liefnlt you can't stop the air from travelin traveling and i ty colleague is exactly right. this was not just the east coast, which happens to be at the tail pipe, as we call it, of the pollution in america. but the midwest is very much impacted in this regulation -- and this regulation will help the health of the people in the midwest and throughout our cufnlt i thank my colleague for his comments. mr. kirk: i actually rose to speak on several other topics which i will do in turn. and the first, i want to say that tomorrow we are going to honor generations of veterans who wore the uniform of the united states. as a member of the house, i worked to help save my congressional districts' veterans hospital in north chicago, illinois, after washington bureaucrats recommended its closure by the department of defense. we actually -- or by the department of veterans affairs. we actually arranged to bring the department of defense and the v.a. together in a naval
hospital, in a v.a. hospital, to combine them in what became the capital james a. level federal health care strrks building a sinner ji in seamless care for active duty and veterans alike. it became the first combined v.a.-navy hospital in the a nation. it is a world-class facility that delivers medical care to about 4,000 active duty at the great lakes, about 42,000 recruits, and an equivalent number of veterans in the region. i'd like to think about the waiting room of this hospital in which grizzled veteran veteranse -- one i remember meeting from the battle of sevo island, 1942, right next to the new recruits to the navy, in the same waiting room about to receive care from the same nurses and doctors at this now-combined navy-v.a. hospital. here in the senate i became the
new ranking member of the military construction and v.a. affairs appropriations subcommittee. and now we're going to see if we can expand this model of care, not just to one part of northern illinois but to the country. we should go to the next level of not just integrating one set of hospitals but for the whole country and here the greatest potential is in medical records. it should be the policy of this congress, the appropriations committee and our subcommittee, that we create in the end one military v.a. health record so that there is a seamless continuum of care for the men and women who have joined to protect our country from the first day that they sign up as a recruit until their sunset years as a veteran. now, i shared a draft of this speech with the chairman of our subcommittee, chairman johnson,
and also chairman culver son of the house subcommittee, a and the administration to hopefully drive consensus in the house and senate forward on this issue. i think we all now agree that there should be more defense department and v.a. collaboration on health care but especially focus on health records. now, with chairman johnson, we held a march hearing on the progress of moving forward to a military veteran, what's called fully integrated electronic health record. the system will provide service members with a single medical record from their enlistment through their final days as a veteran. i really want to applaud secretary shinseki, secretary gates and secretary panetta for pushing the very separate secretary of defense and v.a.
into a single record system. the integrated health record developed joint by by v.a. and d.o.d. is a very large and necessary i.t. project. it will encompass quite a lot of effort to be caring for around 15 million service members, veterans, and eligible families each year. now, for more than 20 years, these two executive departments built entirely separate health care systems, but the taxpayer did pay for both. a 20-year marine leaving active duty health care would then potentially today have three separate health care records -- a military one, a veterans record, and a civilian care record through tricare. this meant that information on medical treatment or service-connected disabilities could easily be split between these records. v.a. doctors railroad v.a. benefits personnel would then
not have the complete information in assessing care for this american in uniform or just out of uniform. the new system will hopefully eliminate paper records, missing files and replace them all with a common record complete with active duty medical history that the v.a. medical care providers can access in all hospitals and clinics throughout the country. a project of this magnitude, six years of work, several hundred million dollars in expense is not without risk, and it's our responsibility to make sure that both departments -- d.o.d. and v.a. -- make the right cost-effective decisions to defend the hard-working taxpayer. in past years, normal practice inside washington would be to give a project like this to a massive government contractor who would hijack it into an unwieldy and proprietary system which rapidly became outdated
with technology that was only licensed to that contractor. in the congress, we cannot let this happen with this project. in times of fiscal austerity, it's critical that the government work carefully with chairman johnson and chairman -- in the senate and chairman culverson in the house to look beyond their own walls to cooperate and innovate and deliver more efficient and effectsive services. it's imperative that v.a. and d.o.d. ensure that it gets this right and not replicate problems associated with past developments of so many large i.t. systems. one of the most positive developments is the joint v.a.-d.o.d. approach that will embrace best commercial practices by leveraging technology already used in the private sector through commercial, off-the-shelf systems and especially open source coding so that the electronic health record can be
built at the lowest cost. this will ensure that the new system will benefit from innovative and new solutions being used by major medical systems and health care providers across the country. an open source, that is, open computer code approach, will most importantly prevent us, the government, from being locked into one single vendor. instead, the approach will allow not only innovation but will require a private firm to integrate their technology into the joint v.a.-d.o.d. system. it will also encourage real competition, as every vendor bidding on a new contract will have full public access to the product completed by the previous vendor. this approach should ensure that the taxpayer is defended, that their dollars are well spent and that service members and veterans are well served by the system we then develop. i want to commend the v.a. and
d.o.d. on their willingness to break down the walls between their respective departments and work together on this project, especially on the eve of veterans day. if successful, this approach could serve as a model for cooperation between other government agencies serving similar communities. making the government smarter and leveraging private-sector innovation and developing cost-saving technologies, like open source coding, like commercial off-the-shelf requirements, is exactly the mind-set that we need to embrace in a cost-conscious environment that we're in today. in closing, i want to once again thank the secretary of veterans affairs, shinseki, our previous secretary of defense gates and our current secretary of defense panetta for their vision in bringing this tough problem together. and i will just tell each one of these cabinet departments that chairman culverson and i are looking forward in about 2 1/2 months time with meeting with their teams to assess the
project and progress on developing a fully integrated, complete joint d.o.d. and then v.a. health record to care for that american from the time they enlist until their final days as a veteran. on another subject -- on november 11, 1919, exactly one year after the end of world war i, president wilson designated armistice day to honor those who served during the great war. in 1954, congress changed the name of the holiday to honor the service of all men and women in uniform that we now know as veterans day. for the last 22 years, it's been the honor of my life to serve in the u.s. navy reserve. i've seen firsthand the sacrifice of men and women who wore the uniform and, quite frankly, provided the freedoms that we enjoy as americans. this week, we remember those who
sacrificed everything in the defense of our nation and i am proud to support legislation that provides a new employment opportunity for those veterans. the vow to hire heroes act of 2011 is bipartisan legislation that the senate has just passed to give our veterans the opportunity to learn new skills and reenter the work force. too often employers overlook the experience of our professional veterans. these men and women are typically highly effective, organized leaders who have been part of a team in a difficult environment. they have undertaken responsibilities few could imagine under extreme conditio conditions, especially at young ages. across afghanistan and iraq, veterans are saving lives using state-of-the-art medical equipment in austere conditions. when they return, these skills they've obtained do not necessarily quickly translate into civilian certifications
that first responders need to qualify for a job. as a result, government's subsidized expensive training for veterans who are already in many cases substantially overcall tied. the bill just -- overqualified. the bill just passed requires the department of defense, veterans affairs and labor to identify equivalencies between military service and private-sector competencies. this change will translate military experience and certifications into civilian qualifications, opening up new career opportunities for veterans. the legislation also reforms and improves the department of defense's transition assistance program to assist retiring service members with resume development, educational options, and tools for separating from the military. the legislation will identify potential positions and industries in the private sector for our new veterans. for unemployed veterans, the legislation establishes a
retraining education benefit, allowing veterans to go back to school for high-demand skill development and to obtain a technical certificate or degree that prepares them to reenter the work force. this bill also engages the private sector and expands the tax credit for hiring our returning heroes. the legislation is particularly important to my home state, where we have over 700,000 veterans. across illinois, they enthusiastically take on new challenges and become teachers and corporate executives or public servants. now, in 1901, a knox county native and illinois veteran charles walgrene believe the foundation of one of our nation's largest pharmacy chains. a chicago native, george halace, served twice in the navy, spending 63 years then at the helm of the chicago bears and helped found the nfl. countless other citizens of our state served in the military but
then made invaluable contributions to our nation and its economy. despite what most americans see on tv, chairman murray in the senate and chairman miller in the house demonstrated that republicans and democrats across senate and house can work together and that this legislation just passed as a result of that bipartisan cooperation. today, our nation's veterans are facing different adversities and are overcoming new challenges, both in the field and when they come here at home. we owe these men and women everything, and this measure, a bipartisan measure, is one of the ways that we can say thank you. now, i also want to take a brief moment to speak briefly on the subject of european debt situation. i am concerned that we are now eyewitnesses to history but few in the senate are even watching major events that could hurt the incomes of americans here at
home. margaret thatcher once said that socialists eventually run out of other people's money. we witnessed the end of communism in 1991 when russia ran out of money. and in 2011, we may be witnessing the end of european socialism as many of their economies go bankrupt. events in europe offer an immediate warning to our own banking system and a long-term lesson to our society. i want to thank the work of my friend, david mulpass, for helping to develop my view on these issues. in our view, europe's approach to the run on greek debt and then italian debt and possibly this afternoon french debt shows that europe's leaders are not addressing the problems squarely that they face. the current approach that they have is unsustainable. yesterday we witnessed the interest rate italy must pay to
borrow funds rising to over 7%, from the 6.4% on tuesday and the 5% they had to pay at the beginning of the month. germany's finance minister suggested that italy consider drawing on efsf funds, implying that germany doesn't recognize the true magnitude of the systemic problem they face. still focused on plan a when plan a no longer is viable. as mulpass commented, this compares a financial pop gun employed versus the charging financial rhinoceros that is needed. german chancellor angela merkel talked about a new european union and new e.u. treaty structures. now, the u.s. should support increased financial restraints, tougher ones than the master treaty provided. but it's hard to see how europe could undertake an entirely new treaty and then ratify it in the middle of this crisis.
after all, the efsf was hard enough. merkel's party also discussed ways to allow countries to exit the euro. this would be an immediate and severe threat to the current outlook, but her party is now no longer in the ascendancy. it's losing strength to coalition parties that are more committed to the euro. on tuesday, french president nicolas sarkozy raised the possibility of what he called a two-speed europe. in a speech in strasburg, meaning that the euro zone countries would have different rules than non-e.u. members. these issues would also be fine to discuss if we were not immediately in a current financial crisis. there are many steps the u.s. should encourage to prevent this situation from jumping across the atlantic. unfortunately, none of them appear to be underway. first, italy should undertake major growth-oriented structural reforms in their labor market but there appears to be little chance of that.
next, europe could temporarily back away from the basal iii mark to market and the bank capitalization levels they required, removing for now the threat their banks have -- threat that their banks have faced that they will be taken over or be forced to dilute excessively the market at the bottom. remember that the united states provided critical relief in this regard but -- by reinstructing the thasby in march of 2009 to do this, launching the equity market surge. european nations could also begin guaranteeing new liabilities at their banks. remember also, the u.s. took this step in october of 2008 through a fee-based fdic guarantee of new bank issuance. the e.c.b. could also purchase italian bonds in the size needed in the secondary market with the goal of lowering the current yield. remember, the fed bowed american
mortgage-backed -- bought american mortgage-backed securities in december 2008 instantly help recover and resuscitate that market. unfortunately, right now, none of these positive developments seems likely. the news tonight from europe is fairly dismal, and i recall the collapse of german credit in july of 1931. it was that collapse that turned the recession of 1929 into the great depression. our congress right now is rightly focused on the need to cut our own spending, but, unfortunately, the news that i have seen is that the crisis abroad could become the number-one economic story in the united states as early as next month. americans should watch this situation very closely. we should encourage europe to take the actions i outlined above, and, most importantly, we should make sure that the super committee does its job and that we kick our own spending habit before we face the same future.
lastly, i want to touch on a subject that i think most concerns me for the future of the country especially next ye year. when the history of the iranian nuclear program is written, november 2011 is likely to be marked as the turning point towards conflict regarding iran's nuclear weapons program. recall that iran has signed the nuclear nonproliferation treaty and her government claims that they are taking no action in violation of that treaty. recall also in 1979, iran embraced supporting terror as government policy. and iran was then certified as a state sponsor of terror by presidents carter, reagan, bush, clinton, bush and obama. recall also that iran now has become the top financier for two major terror groups in the middle east, hamas and hezboll
hezbollah, and that iran has transferred nearly every type of weapon in its inventory, including cruise missiles, to hezbollah. and recall also that iran has begun -- started the massing refining of uranium far above the 3% necessary to fuel a reactor, upwards of 20%, moving to the 98% needed to run an atomic weapon. this week, the iaea released a landmark report. it said that the iranians were accelerating their uranium enrichment. it said that they had received design information through military personnel on nuclear weapons. but most importantly, it showed how step-by-step, the iranians were working on a nuclear warhead for their long-range shahab-3 missile to include the density and weight of a nuclear weapon. the inclusion of an electric
generator inside that weapon, unnecessary for a conventional munition but absolutely requires for a nuclear mission. there were no submunitions. the entire package was to go off at once. and that critical design information behind that all pointed to a nuclear warhead. our response should be, in my view, nonmilitary, but the strongest nonmilitary means necessary. for many years as a house member, i worked on what i thought was the critical sanction, which is to take advantage of the key vulnerability of iran, that the mullahs have so mishandled their economy since 1979 that this oil-producing nation totally depended on foreign gasoline for their energy supplies. our idea was to cut off iran's supply of foreign gasoline and then to ensure that their signature under the nuclear nonproliferation treaty was genuine, real and verifiable. after working many years on this
legislation, eventually the house of representatives voted with over 400 positive votes for this legislation to help cut off iran's gasoline supply. in fact, the bill was unanimous in the united states senate, and last year, president obama signed this bill into law. the record now shows, according to reuters this morning, that gasoline deliveries, despite the obama sanctions, now have gone up 21% to iran. despite the comprehensive sanctions that the united states has leveled against iran, the international monetary fund reports that the iranian economy grew faster than the u.s. economy last year. and so many of us looking at the sorry record of sanctions enforcement have gathered together on the idea of one last sanction that we think could avoid a conflict, that we think would deliver the decisive
diplomatic weight to solving this problem, and that is to sanction the central bank of iran itself, to say any entity which does business with the central bank of iran cannot do business with the united states, to force every financial and business interest in the country or in the world to choose between the $300 billion iranian economy and the $14 trillion american economy. now, we know the central bank of iran is the central paymaster of hezbollah and hamas, two organizations secretary of state clinton has highlighted are sponsors of terror. we know that the central bank of iran is the central paymaster for the iranian revolutionary guards corps and especially their sub unit, the kudz force, which attorney general holder highlighted, tried to launch a plot through a mexican drug cartel to blow up a washington, d.c., restaurant.
they talked about killing dozens of americans. they even talked about killing senators in an effort to kill the saudi arabian ambassador to the united states. we know that the central bank of iran also is the likely paymaster of the nuclear program of iran itself. and so this summer, something unique happened in the life of the senate. in these partisan times, with so much difference expressed between republicans and democrats, 92 senators joined in the kirk-schumer letter, saying that we should sanction the central bank of iran, that we should cripple the iranian currency. for god's sakes, at least we could have iranian economic growth as slower than u.s. economic growth for 2012. it was a unique moment of bipartisan consensus, and the obama administration even leaked to the "new york times" that this action was under consideration.
all occasions are now that the -- all indications are now that the obama administration will take no major action against iran, despite a united nations report and despite a plot revealed by the attorney general himself. recall that the iaea was the organization that down played bush administration accusations against iraq and its weapons of mass destruction program, that following the fall of saddam hussein, we consistently found that what the iaea said about iraq was exactly correct. and so when the iaea reports that the iranians are working towards a nuclear weapon and a warhead aboard their shahab-3 missile, when we learned that the iranians are supporting terror through hezbollah and hamas, a plot to kill americans at a washington, d.c., restaurant, when we learn that iranians have registered the names of every baha'i family,
all 330,000 in their country, that they have removed all baha'is from university, that they have kicked all baha'i children and prohibited all baha'i businesses from doing business with their government, we are worried that this is a government, probably the only member of the united nations where the head of state regularly talks about wiping another member of the united nations off the planet, it seems like we should take action. i am recalled a famous quote from president kennedy. long before he was elected president when he wrote an essay called "why america slept" in which he talked about all the signs of a coming catastrophe in europe and no action by the u.s. government. this week is the turning point for iran. if the united states takes no action, then we set the middle east on a course for conflict. likely involving our allies in
israel, potentially also saudi arabia. the simple course of the history right now i think would be improved if we leveled this sanction in bipartisan fashion, giving our diplomats decisive weight to stop this program, and therefore avoiding conflict. by taking the easy way out, by leveling no action against iran, we actually are empowering those who would go to conflict more quickly. i am dumfounded as to the reason that we're doing this. senators on this floor told me that they suspected that there was so much insecurity about the current price of oil that the administration will do everything possible not to have conflict or stress in the middle east in order to ensure its re-election and keep prices low, but i would argue that nuclear weapons in the hands of the iranians will automatically raise energy prices in the united states, that with the
record of the iranians transferring cruise missiles to hezbollah, there is no doubt in my mind that the iranians, once they build a sufficient stockpile of nuclear weapons, will transfer some of those to hezbollah, that we already see hostile intent by the iranians, not just at the israelis but at the saudi arabians, and that the path to further instability and danger is in not taking action rather than taking action. this on a friday night in november is the turning point of the iran crisis. many bureaucrats inside the administration would prefer that you not know this is the turning point. they would prefer that you not realize that the iranian program is receiving decisive weight, and that according to experts, the iranians will have nuclear weapons either next year or by their latest estimate the year after. that according to my scenario, they would build a sufficient
stockpile so we envision possibly a future whereby -- whereby 2014 or 2015, the iranians will have a sufficient number to begin transferring weapons to hezbollah. and we certainly know that the moment the iranians detonate a weapon, we will witness the launch of nuclear programs in saudi and likely in egypt. the bottom line is this -- without action, decisive action on economic sanctions, we condemn the middle east to a conflict that eventually may involve special weapons, weapons of mass destruction. with action, similar to action called for by those who saw the history correctly in the 1930's, we could help protect the coming generation from such a conflict. a world in which the iranians have nuclear weapons is one that we grant to our kids in a far more dangerous environment than
the 21st century than the one we should grant them to. the senate hopefully will vote on an amendment next week that i hope to author to level this sanction on iran. if opposed by the obama administration, then i think we're condemning this region to an awful conflict, and i think we should protect the next administration -- or i should say we should protect the next generation from such a future by taking good, solid, decisive, nonmilitary sanctions action now, and with that, i yield back.
ms. mikulski. the presiding officer: the senator from maryland is recognized. ms. mikulski: i ask 25 the call of the quorum be vacated. the presiding officer: without objection, so ordered. ms. mikulski: i rise to address one of the most important issues facing the super committee. that is, where does social security fit into their plans? now, i know the super committee is doing a great job, they're working in a steady way to see how we can be a more frugal
government, but while we're trying to be frugal, how we also meet our responsibilities for the national defense and also how we maintain our social contract. now, to me, one of the most essential programs in the social contract -- that is, the contract between the united states government and its people people -- is social security. for more than 75 years, under every president we have worked in a bipartisan way to ensure the security and the solvency and the safety of social security. every president has agreed that social security should be undenial, available to everybody, reliable, that it's there when you need it, and
inflationproof. inflationproof. i was in the house when we were teetering on a collapse with social security. ronald reagan was in the white house, tip o'neill was the speaker of the house, bob dole was the majority leader in the senate, and bob byrd, we went to work and made sure that social security was solvent for all 30 or 40 years. under bill clinton we also took positive, forward steps. now, under president bush he wanted to privatize it. that's the way he saw entailing its future solvency. we fought that, but we still had money in the trust fund, and now where are we? well, there are those who say we've got to reduce the debt. hey, i know we've got to reduce
the debt. madam share, we've had -- chair, we've had extensive conversations. you have some meaty ideas worthy of consideration. but let's make it clear, social security should not be on the table. when they say all options are on the table, let's put all options on the table for those programs that created the debt, that created the deficit. social security did not create our debt. and why it is part of the super committee conversation, debate, and even hit list, i don't know. now, that casts no dispersions against any member of the committee. i'm talking about somehow or other editorial boards who know everything about everything all the time have said you've got to do something about social security. we know that we have to reform
social security to modernize it for a 21st century economy, and a 21st century demography. we get that. but it doesn't belong in the super committee, up against the wall with impossible deadlines, up against the wall with impossible mandate. so while they're looking at revenue, discretionary spending, military spending, social security does not belong there. the reform of social security belongs in another environment. so that's position number one. position number two is what are we doing on social security? well, i am concerned that we're about to shred the social contract, and we're going to do it by doing something called the chained c.p.i. isn't that a terrible word? chained c.p.i.
wow. i'm afraid that we're going to change seniors to poverty. so let me tell you what a chained c.p.i. is. when you read all of the books that we get, policy books, chained c. piemplet would -- c.p.i. would cut social security by $112 billion over ten years. they do it by changing the way the cost of living is calculated. it's based on kind of this theory, it's based on a theory of human behavior. one word, there's social engineering schemes. and what it says is this: it assumes that a consumer will substitute lower cost items when the cost that they normally purchase goes up. well, that means, again in theory, if the price of apples goes up, you're g